Changes to Emergency Procedures in FCPS


Alexia Parisi

Frederick County Public Schools new emergency protocols poster, found within all classrooms.

Alexia Parisi, Editor

In the light of recent events, Oakdale High School (OHS) along with the rest of Frederick County Public School decided it was time to adjust their protocols and help the community feel overall safe. FCPS has started to introduce new adjustments to our safety protocols. The biggest change made was the wording to previous protocols.

Before, the board had seen confusion within the community about certain protocols. For example, the “hold” drill that was previously known as “lockout.”

OHS vice principal Daniel Grimm explained, “It simplifies things. Before when people heard “lockout,’’ they immediately thought it meant we were in a lockdown. They are much different things, they are much different protocols [sic]. Changing it into the hold (like last week) is a much more simple thing to understand and it eliminates confusion.”

Also this year, 2022-2023, the way drills are run will be different than in years past. This week, Sep. 5-10, 2022, OHS will be conducting two drills everyday to help students and staff feel safe and prepared. Oakdale specifically will be having four active shooter drills this year, even though the county only requires one.

The fire drill policy has also been changed this year. In previous years, it was only required for OHS to run five drills, but this year there will be eight drills required by the county. Students should be prepared to know what to do during an emergency situation from multiple parts of the school.

“The reactions of our students and staff in the drama wing could be much different than in the teaching wings,” Grimm revealed.

Grimm additionally made sure to note the physical changes at Oakdale. The student population here has increased by 400 in the last few years and the area is continuing to develop. At some point the facilities managers had to start thinking about what changes they have to make to accommodate every student.

An example of this is the changes to the morning release time. Even though class still starts at 7:30, students can now get to their first block at 7:15. The staff had to make the decision to allow students to leave the main hallway earlier because the amount of people in one hallway at the same time started to become dangerous.

OHS junior, Jocelynn Todd stated, “For the majority of the time I do feel safe at school because I know there are people working to keep us safe.”

Overall, OHS is a safe school for students. But, this would not be possible without being prepared and knowing what to do in emergency situations.